Before class begins, buy enough lollipops or suckers for all class members; then change the wrappers so that none of them match the flavor inside.
In class, have everyone pick their favorite sucker and start to eat it; then watch the varied reactions as people realize they’ve been duped!
Explain that while it’s disappointing to open your favorite sucker and find something different, the greatest disappointments come when people don’t live up to what they profess to be. If we are disciples of Jesus Christ, then we must be sure our thoughts and actions match our label.—Linda Garner
Last Christmas Eve, when CNN’s Larry King Live was broadcast from the Tabernacle on Temple Square, Mr. King asked President Gordon B. Hinckley about the state of today’s youth. President Hinckley expressed optimism and confidence in teenagers: “I see hundreds of thousands of young people who live in this age and keep the faith of Jesus Christ and live decent, constructive lives. … Let us not forget that we have many [youth] who have found the way and are living the teachings with which they are guiding their lives and are making of themselves productive and valued citizens of society. We’re not failing.”
Many young artists dream of someday publishing their own book, and Katie Lynn Beck, 18, actually made it happen. Katie won first place in a national publishing contest for youth for her original story and illustrations, which were later published as a children’s book called The Moas.
The message of the book is to believe in yourself and develop your talents, and that’s exactly what Katie encourages children to do as she teaches writing and illustration at elementary schools throughout her state. “I’m grateful to people in my life who encouraged me to develop my talents, and now I’m trying to do that for others,” says Katie, a member of the Smithfield (Utah) 13th Ward.
Try these tips when someone you know needs a listening ear:
Let them talk. Many times, people just need a chance to talk. Encourage them to talk with simple prompts such as “And then what happened?” rather than interrupting or talking about yourself.
Stay neutral. If a friend says, “My teacher kept me after class and I didn’t even do anything wrong,” don’t say, “Wow, what a jerk!” Instead, say something like, “You must have been upset.” By staying neutral, you acknowledge your friends’ responses without fueling their negative feelings.
If asked, offer solutions. Once they’ve talked, many people will reach solutions on their own. But if they ask for assistance, help them see all the available options. Then let them decide which solution is best.
Keep confidences. Don’t share what your friend has talked about with anyone else. If your friend reveals a serious problem, ask for permission to talk with a parent, bishop, or school counselor. If the problem is life threatening, talk with a trusted adult right away, whether or not you have your friend’s permission.
Follow up. Soon after someone has confided in you, give them a call or write them a note. Encouraging them or asking them how things are going will show them you really care.—Shane Barker
Do you hold back from sharing your religious beliefs because you’re not sure how you’ll be accepted? You may be surprised to know how many other teens are also religious. According to a 1994–98 Gallup Youth Survey on Teen Beliefs/Practices in the United States:
95 percent of teens believe in God, and 67 percent believe in a personal God who observes and blesses.
67 percent believe there is life after death.
35 percent say their religious faith is the most important influence in their lives, and another 44 percent say it’s somewhat important.
64 percent say they are a member of a church, synagogue, mosque, or other religious group.
Has something about a Church hymn ever touched you personally? Share it with other New Era readers! Send your experience (written in approximately 100 words) and a snapshot of yourself to My Favorite Hymn, New Era, 50 East North Temple Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150. Look for calls for entries for My Favorite Scripture and My Scripture Hero in upcoming issues. Here’s an example of what we’re looking for:
“One of my favorite hymns is ‘Where Can I Turn for Peace?’ (Hymns, no. 129). This hymn is comforting to me because I know that when I am having problems in my life, I can turn to the Savior for help and strength. I love the line, ‘Who, who can understand? He, only One.’ It brings so much peace knowing that the Lord understands me, even when other people may not, and that He loves me ‘without end.’ Often times, when I am lonely or confused, I find myself thinking about the words to this hymn, and I can feel the Spirit so strong.”
—Elizabeth Mackey, 17, Salt Lake City, Utah